With recent brush fires in Hawaii, Firewise Communities Hawaii, part of the National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Program, offered tips for residents.
"Be lean, clean and green and create a 30-foot buffer zone of defensible space around your property (which) will help reduce your risk to wildfire," said Denise Laitinen, Firewise Communities coordinator for Hawaii.
To create a defensible space:
» Prune shrubs and trees so the lowest branches are six to 10 feet off the ground.
» Remove dead leaves and plant material from around your home.
» Plant vegetation with high-moisture content or plants native to your area.
» Make sure plants closest to the house are low to the ground.
» To prevent sparks from getting lodged in or under a house, place one-eighth-inch wire mesh over vents, open spaces, ducts on the roof or under the house if it is post-and-pier construction.
» Store flammable and hazardous materials safely and away from possible sources of ignition, never under a house.
What to do if a wildfire is approaching your house:
» Call 911.
» Close all entrances and other openings. Close window coverings to prevent sparks from blowing into your house.
» Turn off residential fuel. If you use gas or butane, turn it off at the tank or meter.
» Dress to protect yourself. Wear heavy, long-sleeved cotton clothing (some synthetics are highly flammable), gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.
» Have tools and water accessible, including a ladder, shovel, rake and long water hose. Fill buckets and containers with water.
» Wet down the roof with a hose.
For more information, contact the Firewise Communities coordinator at 281-3497 or by email at email@example.com.